Facundo Torres is one of the biggest signings in Orlando City history. In a purely financial sense, he’s easily the biggest transfer the club has ever made. He’s a full Uruguayan international and was one of the top players in South America last year. That price tag and resume will bring expectations, not helped by the fact he’s taking the position and squad number of Nani, who was arguably the greatest player in Orlando City history.
With all of that hype and all of those expectations, we need to remember two important things.
- Torres is only 21 years old and this is his first time playing outside of Uruguay.
- It usually takes a full season for players to adjust to Major League Soccer. (The David Gass theorem for the ExtraTime Radio folks)
There’s absolutely a world where Torres steps into MLS and from day one is a Miguel Almiron-esque force who can just absolutely tear it up. But that’s not the return fans should be banking on.
The key with big new signings is modest expectations. For Torres in year one, Orlando should expect 10-15 combined goals and assists and (most importantly) improvement over the course of the season. This is not a player brought in to be Carlos Vela, but instead somebody who Orlando needs to see growth from.
Now, long-term expectations on Torres should be high. Limit what 2022 is for him in your mind, but he should become a Best XI caliber player over the next three seasons. You don’t break your club-record for a transfer unless you believe a player is capable of those expectations. Over the course of Torres’s time in Orlando, he should continue to get better and start to produce like an MVP, match-winning talent, and maybe become a valuable, sellable asset.
This is an exciting time for Orlando City. This is probably the first time the club’s had a player exciting enough that fans need to temper expectations. Limit your expectations at the beginning, but when his time in Orlando is over, Torres should be and could be one of the best players to ever wear the shirt.